How Often Do You Need to Have Your Teeth Cleaned?
No matter how meticulous you are about following your oral healthcare routine at home, it’s still important to have a professional teeth cleaning performed from time to time. Why? One reason is that only a professional has the skills and tools necessary to thoroughly remove cavity-causing plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth.
But, how often do you really need to have your teeth cleaned? In general, if you have a healthy mouth and good oral hygiene habits, your dentist may suggest that you have your teeth cleaned by a professional at least twice a year. In fact, many dental insurance plans will cover two cleanings per year.
There are many good reasons for the twice-a-year teeth cleaning recommendation. Consider that:
Mouth Bacteria and Tooth Plaque Are Facts of Life
More than 700 different strains of bacteria have been detected in the human mouth. Most are harmless. Some, which are known as probiotics, are actually beneficial in that they aid in the digestion of food. Others, however, can cause tooth decay and gum disease (periodontitis). For instance, Streptococcus mutans thrive in your mouth, feed on the sugars and starches you eat, and then produce enamel-eroding acids that cause cavities.
When cleaning your teeth, a dental professional will remove both plaque and tartar, as well as the bacteria that caused them to form in the first place. Even so, within 24 to 48 hours, bacteria will begin to recolonize in your mouth. Because bacteria are always present in your mouth, it is inevitable that plaque will reform on your teeth before six months have passed. And, the longer the plaque is left in place, the more likely that it will calcify onto your teeth and form tartar.
An Early Warning System
A professional teeth cleaning also includes a dental checkup that can reveal early signs of problems more serious than plaque, such as cavities, receding gums, oral cancer, anemia, and other health issues. Additionally, since periodontitis has been linked to cardiovascular disease, early diagnosis and treatment can potentially lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.
What to Do in Between Cleanings
By practicing good oral healthcare, you can effectively manage and control the bacteria in your mouth in between your professional cleanings. Brushing after each meal, rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash, and flossing at least once per day can eliminate food sources for harmful bacteria and thus prevent them from reproducing. Avoiding sugary and starchy foods, especially when you don’t have access to a toothbrush, can also help contain bacterial growth.
If you’d like to schedule a professional teeth cleaning, contact Florida Dental Centers in Clearwater, FL. We’ll help you keep your teeth and mouth sparkling clean.